Golf Asia

AT&T Byron Nelson

Lee Earns Maiden Pga Tour Win At AT&T Byron Nelson


As K.H. Lee stood over a critical 15-foot par putt on the 16th hole Sunday at the AT&T Byron Nelson, a ferocious lightning strike nearby jolted him out of position. A rain-soaked Lee would have to wait just a little bit longer for his maiden PGA TOUR victory.

More than two hours later, the 29-year-old finally stood back over that putt only to bogey for just the third time all week. Not that it mattered, Lee might have begun the restart inauspicio­usly but he would close it in style, posting a final-round 6-under 66 to win by three shots over Sam Burns.

“I was not that nervous before the round, but I was very nervous when we resumed to play,” he said. “I was shaking inside last three holes.”

No one seemed to notice. The twotime winner on both the Korean and Japan tours promptly birdied the ensuing par-3 17th, pushing his lead over Burns to three strokes with one hole to play. That proved to be enough for Lee, who became the eighth Korean to win on the PGA TOUR and the second this year, after Si Woo Kim won The American Express in February.

The finish proved even more special when, after sinking a birdie to end the week, he was congratula­ted greenside by his wife, Joo Yeon Yu, and fellow Korean colleagues K.J. Choi and Sung Kang. “He told me how proud he was of me,” Lee said. “I’m very thankful for K.J. He means a lot to me.”

Burns, who earned his own maiden win two weeks ago at the Valspar Championsh­ip, would go on to finish solo second at 22-under. He tapped in for birdie at the 72nd to pull out of a five-way tie.

The Louisiana product slept on a one-shot lead overnight but bogeyed the first hole on Sunday to drop into a tie alongside his Korean playing partner. Lee capitalize­d on the error, carding birdies on each of the next three holes to open up an advantage he would not relinquish.

“(K.H.) played awesome. I was really proud of him,” Burns said. “When it was tough, he hung in there and he got off to a great start. He kept hitting one shot after the next and never gave anybody a chance. It was fun to watch. I was proud of the way he played, and it was tough to beat him today.”

Lee finished at an impressive 25-under 263 for the week, posting no worse than a 67 over four days and rising 55 spots to No. 29 in the Fedexcup Standings.

The soon-to-be-father also enters the conversati­on for a potential roster spot on Captain Trevor Immelman’s Internatio­nal Team, which will look to take down the United States in the Presidents Cup next September.

“Thinking of joining the Presidents Cup, that would be such a great present for me,” he said. “To represent my country and my team, those kinds of things are so special.”

Lee became the fourth Asian winner of the AT&T Byron Nelson and the second in as many tries, after Sung Kang captured the last rendition of the event in 2019. Shigeki Maruyama (2002) and Sangmoon Bae (2013) also claimed wins at the Byron Nelson.

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